In­ter­ac­tive Walk to Beth­le­hem rea­dy for 11th sea­son


Ma­ny of the 150 vo­lun­teer ac­tors, guides, ba­kers, sin­gers, set people, and more, were on hand Sun­day at the Hud­son Com­mu­ni­ty Bap­tist Church as pro­duc­tion for the 11th an­nual Walk to Beth­le­hem ki­cked in­to high gear.

The po­pu­lar thea­tri­cal —TRA­DI­TION ex­pe­rience that draws thou­sands of people each sea­son to the spraw­ling grounds of the ru­ral church, will run this year du­ring two wee­kends: No­vem­ber 25 - 26, and Dec. 2 - 3.

For those who’ve ne­ver been, Walk to Beth­le­hem is an in­ter­ac­tive re­tel­ling of the bi­bli­cal Ch­rist­mas Eve sto­ry. From the mo­ment vi­si­tors reach the “gates to the ci­ty,” they be­come part of the sto­ry. Ro­man sol­diers may de­mand a pay­ment of taxes, while cos­tu­med guides lead tra­vel­lers to twelve dif­ferent out­door sta­tions set up along ti­ki-lit pa­th­ways. Vi­si­tors will en­coun­ter live barn ani­mals, sin­ging an­gels, wise men, a mar­ket­place, she­pherds, and more. The ex­pe­rience culmi­nates in a real stable where Ma­ry and Jo­seph wel­come their new­born son. San­dra An­der­son, the Walk’s dra­ma coach, who has been part of the pro­duc­tion for the past five years, says the event is a true com­mu­ni­ty ef­fort. “It bring to­ge­ther so ma­ny people from our church, and other churches and people in the com­mu­ni­ty. We have people bake over 8,000 treats that we of­fer to guests... it’s real­ly such a won­der­ful ex­pe­rience for all of us,” she said. An­der­son said they make an ef­fort to change some as­pect of the pro­duc­tion each year. “We have fa­mi­lies that come back year af­ter year, it’s be­come a tra­di­tion for so ma­ny, so we like to change it up a lit­tle.” An­der­son said eve­ryone works hard to stay in cha­rac­ter and por­tray the event as if it is ta­king place 2,000 years ago. And fol­lo­wing the pro­duc­tion, vi­si­tors are in­vi­ted to warm up in­side the church’s Ch­rist­mas Cafe where hot cho­co­late and ho­me­made treats are of­fe­red. Walk to Beth­le­hem is free to at­tend, though do­na­tions which help co­ver pro­duc­tion costs are ac­cep­ted. Vi­si­tors are al­so en­cou­ra­ged to bring non-per­ishable food do­na­tions which will be dis­tri­bu­ted to fa­mi­lies in need through the Do­rion Dream Centre food bank. The his­to­ri­cal re-en­act­ment takes place out­doors on so­me­times-une­ven ter­rain. Vi­si­tors are ad­vi­sed to dress for night­time out­door wal­king. The Hud­son Com­mu­ni­ty Bap­tist Church is lo­ca­ted at 3141, Cote St-Charles in Saint La­zare (exit 22 from High­way 40). Fri­day tours will run from 6 p.m.- 9 p.m., Sa­tur­day tours from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Tours leave ap­proxi­ma­te­ly eve­ry 10 mi­nutes. Bi­lin­gual tour guides are avai­lable.

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